Cody Brewer’s collegiate wrestling resume is both sterling and unfinished – the defending NCAA champion at 133 pounds is gearing up to head back to the national tournament in New York in two weeks.
One thing Brewer, an Oak Park grad and Oklahoma senior, hasn’t been able to do since heading to Norman is wrestle in his hometown. That was crossed off the list on Saturday during the first day of the Big 12 Championships at the Sprint Center.
Brewer cruised in his two matches, beating West Virginia’s Keegan Moore 14-5 in the quarterfinals, and dominating Utah Valley’s Jade Rouser 21-2.
Brewer has four state titles in high school under his belt, along with last year’s national title. Still, he felt some nerves when taking to the mat on Saturday.
“I came out a little slow in my first one. It was kind of expected, it was the first match I’ve had in a while,” Brewer said. “I was just kind of letting the butterflies out a little bit. It’s awesome. I get to see all my family, everybody came down for it. It was great, I loved seeing them.”
Brewer will face Iowa State’s Earl Hall for the conference title.
“We wrestled in a dual and we wrestled the Vegas semis, I think it was. I won both of them,” Brewer said. “He’s going to be ready. He’s going to come out ready to go, and so will I. I’ll have to match his level of intensity, and come out on top.”
Fifth-ranked Oklahoma State is well on its way to a fourth straight conference title, and sixth in the last seven years.
The Cowboys will wrestle for a conference title in nine of the 10 weight classes. Senior Alex Dieringer is vying for his third straight NCAA title. He cruised with a pin and 17-1 technical fall in his 165-pound weight class.
Dieringer has one more match left on Sunday, but everything now is geared toward getting ready for New York.
“If I get a decision, I’m not happy with myself. Obviously, I’ll go for the pin first, and a major (decision) is nice too. It’s never enough,” Dieringer said. “Even if I get a pin, there’s something I’m doing wrong. I just got to make sure I’m staying positive and then go back to work.”
The two best semifinals on Saturday night both came at 174. Iowa State’s Lelund Weatherspoon and Oklahoma’s Matt Reed went to a one minute sudden victory period, tied at 1-1. Weatherspoon earned a 3-1 victory with a thunderous takedown.
Oklahoma State’s Chandler Rogers and South Dakota State’s David Kocer seemed destined for extra time as well, as they were tied in the waning seconds of their match.
Rogers and Kocer were locked up in a neutral position as the third period wore down. Rogers managed to whipsaw himself around Kocer and get to his back for a reversal just as the buzzer sounded. The officials upheld the call and Rogers won 10-8.
Iowa State sophomore Pat Downey (197) was the only wrestler to upset a top-seed in his weight class, when he scored a 4-1 decision over West Virginia’s Jacob Smith in the quarterfinals. Downey fell to Oklahoma State’s Preston Weigel in the semifinals, 6-2.
The Big 12 Championship concludes Sunday. The third session starts at 9 a.m. Championship matches begin at 1 p.m.